North Florida Christian senior Rosanna Jenije could have gotten excited six minutes into the second quarter of Tuesday night’s season-opening game for the Eagles’ girls basketball team.
But after scoring the 2,000th point of her career— becoming the first in NFC’s school history to do so— Jenije stoically took the trophy game ball Eagles coach Jodie Price gave her, smiled minimally, and gave it to her parents in the stands, while being greeted with hugs.
Then Jenije went out and showed where her motivations truly lie, giving a fist pump and pointing a complimentary finger when teammate Aimee Williams knocked down two jumpers off her passes.
“There’s five people on the court, it’s not just me. I have to play with my team,” said Jenije, who was a first team All-Big Bend selection a year ago off a team that went 4-14. “Especially for a team that’s struggled the last several years, it’s a big deal when those kids step up and do that and have the confidence to do that. It means a lot to me.”
NFC went on to defeat Thomasville’s Brookwood School, 35-29, and Jenije got to enjoy her accomplishment in a win, something rare over her previous few years.
“People don’t know what a great teammate she is,” Price said. “She’s very unselfish. Typically for a girl to score 2,000 points you wouldn’t categorize her as unselfish, you’d say she’s a ball hog, but she’s a great teammate and person, and the girls loves her for it. She has a talent, but she doesn’t let it control her life. We all celebrate with her.”
Needing seven points to reach the historic threshold, Jenije, who averaged over 20 points a game a year ago, got six in the first quarter on 2 of 10 shooting. But then a dribble handoff and curl to the left corner in the second quarter resulted in a rhythm jumper and the ability to finally relax.
“My heart was just pounding really hard,” Jenije said. “It wasn’t mainly 2,000 points but first senior game. That’s what I was really nervous about. My heart was pounding so hard it was hard to get in the flow of the game. I was shaken up early. Once it was over and everyone cheered, I could just do what I was meant to do which was score, play basketball, help my teammates. The pressure was over.”
Jenije, whose brother Ochuko starred in football for NFC before joining Florida State from 2006-10, finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds, six steals, four assists and a block. Williams compiled seven points and 10 rebounds, while Alicia Price scored two to go with nine rebounds.
With 2,017 points, Jenije still has the entire rest of the season to keep chipping away at other goals, though most aren’t what you’d expect. Her focus is on mental, spiritual and emotional goals, while foregoing material rewards which will inevitably come with such a stellar career.
“I actually made a joke with my coach that they should retire my jersey,” Jenije said. “Then I thought about it and it was a little selfish on my part. I’m just here playing basketball. I’m supposed to do just do what I have to. All in all, I should just stay with it and be consistent and help other girls be confident in themselves.”